Monday, July 30, 2018

Book Review: A Crown of Wishes (The Star-Touched Queen #2)

Release Date: March 28, 2017
Author: Roshani Chokshi
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
Length: 369 pages
Source: NetGalley eGalley/Purchased Audiobook

From the author of The Star-Touched Queen comes a beautiful lush fantasy, Roshani Chokshi's A Crown of Wishes.

Gauri, the princess of Bharata, has been taken as a prisoner of war by her kingdom's enemies. Faced with a future of exile and scorn, Gauri has nothing left to lose. Hope unexpectedly comes in the form of Vikram, the cunning prince of a neighboring land and her sworn enemy kingdom. Unsatisfied with becoming a mere puppet king, Vikram offers Gauri a chance to win back her kingdom in exchange for her battle prowess. Together, they'll have to set aside their differences and team up to win the Tournament of Wishes - a competition held in a mythical city where the Lord of Wealth promises a wish to the victor.

Reaching the tournament is just the beginning. Once they arrive, danger takes on new shapes: poisonous courtesans and mischievous story birds, a feast of fears and twisted fairy revels.

Every which way they turn new trials will test their wit and strength. But what Gauri and Vikram will soon discover is that there's nothing more dangerous than what they most desire.



Protagonists: Vikram is the crown prince of his empire, unfortunately since he is not the emperor's son by blood his father's council plans on making him a puppet king once he ascends the throne. When a sage tells him he's been invited to a tournament where he could win a wish, a wish to be a real king, he leaps at the chance, the only problem is that he needs to take someone else along. Enter Gauri, a princess turned prisoner of war after her brother squashed her rebellion. These characters are fantastic, I love that since I read the first installment in this companion novel duology I know these characters to some extent and I loved watching them shine in their own story. Gauri is a strong warrior, but she doesn't trust easily and can be a bit prone to paranoia, Vikram is sharp minded but feels held back by the matter of his blood. I can't express how amazing it was to watch these characters grow over their journey and grow into even stronger characters by the end. There is a third main character, but I'll let her be a surprise since she was one for me, suffice it to say though I really enjoyed her story as well.

Romance: I'm a sucker for a good "hate to love" romance and this story has a great one. Gauri and Vikram have a great combative aspect to their relationship and over the course of this story they get closer, and their walls come down. Now, usually I'm the kind of person that doesn't want to see a romance fully blossom in just one novel, I like seeing it drawn out a bit over the course of a series, but here, and with the first installment as well, their entire romantic journey feels earned and right, nothing ever felt forced or out of place. I will say though, that if you're expecting a passionate and electric romance, that's not going to be found here, the romance in this book is lighter and more emotional than it is physical.

World Building: I only have one problem with the world building in this book, and why that is, is that there are a few lines of dialogue in this story that seems to make it incredibly clear that there will be no more stories set in this world, at least no more novels set in this world, which is fine, but I wish that it didn't feel so final after only two books. Everything else was fantastic though. I'm still pretty new to Hindu mythology, but just working off what was established in the first installment, this story blew me away. I loved getting to see more from the Otherworld and learning more about the beings that inhabit it. Also, it's made clear early on that what happened to Maya in the first installment still weighs very heavily on Gauri's mind, so we do see Maya again, though not nearly as long as I had hoped we would. The world is built out so much and has so much richness to it that I was completely blown away.

Predictability: Going into this story I had only a few things on my wish list that I wanted to see and while I saw them all, they all unfolded differently than I had expected. That's kind of the general feeling for many of the twists in this story. I was able to figure out most of the more obvious plot points, but it was in how they were executed that really caught me off guard, though there were a few twists that completely blew me away they were the rare exception.

Ending: So, funny story, I experienced most of this story as an audiobook from Audible, and unbeknownst to me said audiobook also included the first Star Touched Novella in there as well, so when the final climaxes were going down, I had no idea that's what they were as there was still a whole lot more audiobook left. Still, the final climaxes were perfect for these characters as it really showed off how far they had come in this story and what they wanted for their future. Then there's a bit of an epilogue to fully tie the story of these characters up and if you've read some of my reviews in the past you know how much I love an epilogue!


I love this story so much, I may even love it more than the first one, and that's saying something. It's a fun and exciting adventure in a lush and vibrant world, and while I wish things didn't seem so close ended with this story, that doesn't stop me from loving it as much as I did.


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